Facing their first loss in 71 years, Toyota has decided to make a change at the top. Akio Toyoda will take over as the new company president in June.

Toyota Motor has named Akio Toyoda its next president. Toyoda, 52, is the grandson of company founder Kiichiro Toyoda. He will take over for current chief Katsuaki Watanabe in June, becoming the first member of the Toyoda family in charge since 1995.

Akio Toyoda will hold the reigns at a hazardous time for the company. Expected to post their first annual fiscal loss in 71 years, Toyota sales dropped four per-cent for the 2008 calendar year. The global economy is the worst in recent memory, with several countries finding themselves in recession.

The United States, Toyota's largest market, auto sales are down substantially. Toyota sales dropped 16% in that country alone. In Japan, the value of Toyota stock has dropped nearly 52% since February 2008.

Shares of Toyota, traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, ended up 1.3%, closing at 3,100 yen, according to Bloomberg News.

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